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My Interview with Jon Gibbs

SEAN:  Your MG novel, Fur-Face, is a work of fiction that is bound to make its way into the hearts of countless children.  What exactly was your inspiration for the story?

JON:  Pretty much everyone talks to their pets (I know I always did), so it wasn’t too much of a leap to decide to write a book about a cat (Snowy) that could answer back.   I thought it would create a lot more story problems (and be more fun for the reader) if I made it so only one human could ‘hear’ him.

SEAN:  Every author has a character in their book that they adore above all others.  Often it is a character that isn’t essential to the story, or even the main character.  Who is yours?

JON:  That would be Mr. Tinkles.  He’s a gorilla with a very distinct (and I hope, memorable) personality, and not at all what you’d expect.

SEAN:  Which of the characters in Fur-Face is most like you?

JON:  Lol, I wish I could say I’m like Aggie –the eccentric grandmother who owns the animal research center and Adventure Safari (a zoo/theme park) in the story.  She’s a lot of fun, but in truth I’m much more like Billy Euston’s dad and the hapless Marcus Sedgewick.

SEAN:  Fur-Face is about a very special friend of the feline persuasion.  How about in real life?  Do you have pets that inspire you?

JON:  Years ago, I had three cats, each with its own distinct personality, but sadly, with two special needs children, pets are pretty much out of the question these days.

SEAN: I know you’re working on a sequel.  Could you tell us a little about it?

JON:  It’s called Barnum’s Revenge.  I’ve been revising the outline to give to my critique group next month.  There are two new human characters in the sequel and a new animal (a skunk)which plays a pivotal role.

SEAN:  Do you have any other works in the pipeline?

JON:  I’m about ready to start pitching Waking up Jack Thunder, to agents.  It’s a Science-fiction action/adventure about a shy scientist who gets the brain patterns of a retired CIA agent stuck inside his head. I’m also mapping out the outline of an MG novel, Dead Doris, a contemporary paranormal adventure about the ghost of a 12-yr-old Victorian girl and her not-even-a-bit-dead best friend.

SEAN:  I noticed you have quite the knack for flash fiction.  I do the same, but usually it’s on topics thrown at me from friends on social networking sites.  What do you use for the inspiration for these and where can fans of yours find your works?

JON:  I like to write drabbles (100-word stories).   I usually get my ideas by playing ‘What if?’

Once I have the general theme, I start with the ending and go from there.  My drabbles have appeared at FlashShot (though they’re not currently online there) and at Every Day Fiction, where my story, WILD WEST JUSTICE, was included in their anthology, The Best of Every Day Fiction Two.

SEAN:  What’s been the hardest part of writing/publishing for you so far?

JON:  For me, the hardest part of the whole process was accepting that my writing stunk and that I didn’t know what I was doing.  When you start your career, there’s so much you don’t even know you don’t know.  I wasted several years writing and rewriting early drafts of Fur-Face before I realized that if I ever wanted to get anywhere, I had to first accept that I had a lot to learn, then go learn it, and then apply that knowledge.

SEAN:  When you write, what helps you the most?  Silence?  Music?  Do you have a particular muse?

JON:  I seem to get my best story ideas in the wee small hours of the morning…stupid Muse L

SEAN:  If somebody offered you a chance to turn your book into a movie, is there a famous actor who you would like to provide the voice of Snowy?

JON:  Not sure.  Maybe the man who voices the Gecko on the TV commercials?

SEAN:  In your blog, An Englishman in New Jersey, you often refer to your old gran.  She sounds like one tough cookie.  Was she really as hard to please as you make out?

JON:  I’d never diss my old gran (she’d come back and haunt me for sure), but suffice to say that the priest at her funeral, who’d known her since childhood, told mourners that my old gran was an amazing character, who could brighten up an entire room, just by leaving it.

SEAN: One last question: What are you currently doing to promote Fur-Face?

JON:  Well, there’s a Summer-long promotion (which runs until August 31st) for people who buy, review and/or help me promote my book.  It has lots of cool prizes, including Quake eBooks and a special edition CD featuring music from my singing days with the British band, Gentleman Jones, More recently, I started the Fur-Face Win-A-Kindle prize draw, in which, as you may have already guessed, I’m giving away a brand new Kindle.  Aside from that, I’ve got personal appearances lined up alongside some of my friends in the New Jersey Authors’ Network as well as some presentations/workshops based on my blog series The Fine Art of Self-Promotion.

Born in England, Jon Gibbs now lives in the USA, where he’s the founder and proud member of The New Jersey Authors’ Network and FindAWritingGroup.com.  His debut novel, Fur-Face (Echelon Press) is available from Amazon.com (Kindle) and in other e-formats at OmniLit.com.

When he’s not chasing around after his three children, Jon can usually be found sitting in front of the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

  1. authorguy
    August 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Where did the name Mr. Tinkles come from?

    I get my best ideas early in the morning, too, mainly because no one else is up making noise to distract me. Is that when your muse is most active, or when you’re most able to hear what she’s saying?

    You do drabbles and novels. Anything in between?

    • August 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm

      Hi Authorguy,

      ‘Where did the name Mr. Tinkles come from?’

      Mr. Tinkles is a giant (but gentle) gorilla with a weak bladder, so it’s partly from that, but it’s also a tongue-in-cheek nod to the movie In the Heat of the Night. The first words we hear him say are, ‘They call me Mr. Tinkles’

      You may well be right about why the muse being most active in the early hours because that’s when I’m most receptive – though I sometimes wish she’d learnt to type so she could just send me an email 🙂

      I’ve only ever written one proper short story, a 3,500 science fiction piece called THE FAMILY LEGEND. It was one of the runners-up (4th or 5th place) in last year’s Graversen Award – a short story contest run by The Garden State Horror Writers (this year’s one is still open for entries, if you’re interested: http://www.gshw.net/contests.html). One of these I’ll dust it off and see if I can’t improve it enough to send off somewhere.

  2. Terri-Lynne
    August 12, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I’m still not entirely confident in old gran’s existence. I have a feeling she is Jon’s alter ego, only he’s too nice a person IRL to admit it!

    Snowy would be voiced over by John Oliver if I had any say in the matter. 🙂

    • August 12, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Terri-Lynne,

      Thanks for stopping by. I wonder if my old gran and I could do some kind of double-act. I can see it now, bright lights up on the stage, just me on my chair and her in that urn… 🙂

      • Terri-Lynne
        August 12, 2010 at 6:11 pm

        Kind of like a ventriloquist and his dummy?

  3. Maurissa Guibord
    August 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Great interview! Fur-face sounds like a lot of fun 🙂

  4. August 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Kind of like a ventriloquist and his dummy?

    Gran would have to be the ventriloquist – nobody would see her lips move 😉

  5. August 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Not sure. Maybe the man who voices the Gecko on the TV commercials?

    Teehee! I’ll be reading the remainder of Fur-Face with this in mind 🙂 (I know, I’m a really slow reader!)

    • August 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

      Thanks, Kam, I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  6. August 12, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Great interview, Jon. And I adored Mr. Tinkle. (I was not pleased with his outcome . . . no pun intended. ;))

    • August 13, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Sorry about that, Tracy. I was a little sorry about that my own self.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. August 13, 2010 at 1:45 am

    I love the voice behind the Gecko….could it be because I’m English? Great interview.

    • August 13, 2010 at 10:19 am

      Thanks, Jenny.

      Congrats on Madness and Murder 🙂

  8. August 13, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Wonderful interview! I’m going to have to get a copy of this for my son 🙂

    Do you have any bird characters? Birds are a lot of fun you know 😀 (says the crazy bird lady)

    Have a wonderful day! 🙂

    • August 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      Thank you, I will. Sadly, I don’t have any bird characters in this or the sequel. Perhaps in book three 🙂

  9. August 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    And I’d like to say, thank you for the interview. It was a definite pleasure to have you.

  10. August 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks Sean. I look forward to returning the favor 🙂

  1. January 2, 2011 at 8:12 am

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